What’s at Stake in the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court Case?

March 24, 2014

You’ve probably heard a lot about religious resistance to the contraceptive mandate in the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”), and how the retail chain Hobby Lobby, along with other businesses, have taken their case all the way to the Supreme Court. This Tuesday, March 25, the Court is going to hear oral arguments in the landmark case of Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. But what’s it all about, really?

Supreme Court Authority of LawIt can be hard to make sense of all the arguments and the widely different uses of terms like “religious liberty” and “freedom of conscience.” Different sides of the debate make similar appeals to free exercise and tolerance, but with drastically different implications, and it can be rather confusing. We’d like to help clear some of this up. It’s too important to be muddied up by fast-talking and political-speak.

This is why we’ve put together a Hobby Lobby Case Resource Page.

It’s a one-stop shop on the CFI website that provides some clarifying materials and links to help all of us understand what it all means, and precisely what’s at stake.

This new page offers a helpful, plain-language FAQ (“frequently asked questions”), and rounds up CFI’s own briefs, articles, blog posts, and other resources on the Hobby Lobby case and the larger issue of religious freedom in U.S. policy. There are also links to outside articles and resources that help to explain what’s so important about this case, and why we believe so strongly that Hobby Lobby and its allies are wrong in their claims for special religious privileges.

We truly hope you find it useful, and if you have more questions about this issue that you’d like to see answered here, let us know.

We at CFI have been deeply involved in this case and the larger issues surrounding it, from our   amicus brief to the Supreme Court to our lobbying of the Health and Human Services Department , to projects like this one that help with the public understanding of important policy developments. We can’t do any of it without your support. You can help us in our efforts to keep healthcare safe and secular.

Please support our work through a donation. And thank you!


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The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to both the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and the Council for Secular Humanism. The mission of CFI is to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. CFI‘s web address is www.centerforinquiry.net.